Submitted by stuart on Wed, 2007-04-11 14:41.
DAY 3 - Tuesday, 13 March 2006 @ Mediashed, Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
Today was the turn of Harwood to talk about his plans for the Art for Shopping Centre project, Net Monster.
To start with Harwood introduces the National Heritage installation because of its dialogue about race and racialisation and as an introduction to Mongrel history (viewed on a projector).
Mongrel – National Heritage is an online installation with faces that can be scanned over by mouse movements. Then you can use the mouse to spit on the faces to reveal stories. It was not shown in the UK for 7 years – in Europe it was easier to get exhibited as they treated it as ‘not their problem’. It was never shown in the US as a gallery can’t be seen to be associated with racism.
Katherine asks if they are mostly Black stories. Graham informs her no, they are mixed.
NetMonster the beginning: Harwood is associated with politics but he is not political at all – he is interested in form and aesthetics – but doesn’t like the current world so wants to make the place more beautiful to him – basically Harwood is a visual artist.
What happens to the image in a networked environment? What is a networked image? There has been a shift in culture – everyone is expected to take pictures with no discussion about it.
CUNT experiments – could an image make a shift and allow it to exist and see what the meaning of the image would become? – e.g. Blair is a Cunt, Bush is a Turd – the image has tried to find the cause of this by searching the internet. The NetMonster searches the internet for the meaning of itself using keywords.
Early experiments in Netmonster were with people viewing the web one page at a time – this is the desires of a rich culture including lots of porn fantasies. Could you trap these demonic things somehow? The more Harwood tried to progress the more it didn’t work. The more conceptual it became the more difficult it was for people to read it – so the first proper approach was Bush, Blair, War: a mapping of all media on the eve of the Iraq War, made at Browning University US. The age of the images documented in the cross with the mean and the median value which looks like a swastika from a distance. It also displays records when the image was found, its age etc. The grabbed images have the text from the same site radiating around it – if the site has many text it will radiate from the image, if it has one text it will point at the centre of the whole image to direct attention.
The biggest contribution to the twentieth century is montage or collage: Google image is already a collage but the rips and tears are not visible. You cannot collage a collage so can’t get any new meanings, thus you would need to think about strengthening it using Photoshop, centralised media – the only way to deal with a collage is to re-order or re-construct the collage. Bush, Blair, War is a first attempt for a person to move the collage with final instructions.
There are two basic methods Harwood had developed: 1) how we might re-order a collage to understand it 2) Process – Rita Verdent immigration minister – getting people out of the Netherlands – so Harwood made her picture grow hair to represent the people she has got out of the country. The collage doesn’t work anymore because of the returned image so its replaced by process hence the hair growth is related to people leaving the country.
Hairy MP's – is a project that calculates the time MP's spend in the Houses of Parliament. The more time they spend in Parliament the more hair they grow and an email is sent to inform them of how they are doing – a formal expression in processing with a humourous twist – Harwood was encouraged to choose hair rather than small pox that he'd originally chosen – the other mongrels said no it needs to be funnier – the idea was to be arbitrary – point out the hypocrisy of everything – grown hair , so natural, on an image makes you feel uncomfortable – Harwood likes these images because it never be fully resolved – an accurate ambiguity – magical power – hair and magic go well together.
Mohammed B – how and image might migrate around the internet over a given time frame – has meaning? – Legal process? – Mohammed B killed Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands – time created , a mapping of how the image was shared – Unusual because this was the only image of him in distribution – a kind of mapping – an intellectual excuse to prove a point – several servers working in unison – Does is sometimes return spurious results that need editing?
Hollerith – perl poetry – write a piece about bringing people back to life from the data – ZKM wanted Graham to make a piece – based in former WW2 factory – they didn’t have enough community work – Graham asked for the Nazi data base of the slaves used at the former factory – calculated their lung capacity at the moment of death – IBM Hollerith – this Netmonster is the research behind this piece of artwork.
The editing process – for people to edit there would be the option – remove or preserve an image from a search – option with a search term – search terms Hollerith, IBM, Nazi etc – image is determined as relevant , words scraped from the webpage – applicably or suitably.
Netmonster is designed to have three or four search words – Francesca De Rimini, who also used Harwood's NetMonster programme used 350 key words and killed the software – designed to focus.
How is the overall composition composed? Small images seem to make a big image? – Re-ordering without mapping, formulate, rips google image, reads, I like that image, and it rips every image and text from that site.
How much is automated? Two processes a fully automated or interactive.
Not for general consumption as concepts are too much for people. It’s a form of information visualisation – but it more about making it expressive/process it’s a part of the work.
One server looking, one mirroring, one combining all that data into an image and a fourth server rendering that image to the web.
Timescale? Live process? Never shown as live process before but maybe at Manchester.
To make the process easier to understand – people know they are looking at an expressive image but didn’t realise it was created by a robot – if we could view this process in real time people could experience it better—but it would be so slow and boring for people – the idea would be to have a fifth server showing the image constructed live.
How to bring that code to the surface? Distributive corrupting a possibility? asks Derek. No. Okay for video but not an image. But, says Derek, could take the constructive distribution company?
Talking about the Netmonster for Futuresonic festival -- Multiple screens to show different constructive elements at Manchester – conceptually difficult in the Arndale – technical issues and site management – strong image with layers of meaning – controversy of Graham’s work – comments about three words regeneration, terrorism and consumerism – cultural issues versus corporate convcerns – Graham needs to work without restrictions – Drew is worried about timescale – Arndale is not a gallery space – Graham acknowledges the need to talk to people in advance of the project – shopping, bomb blast, regeneration – bomb is central to people in Manchester – artwork needs to be decorative but needs enough room in it to say all that needs to be said – if you do decorative got to make sure it carries some weight.
Pre-bombsite image – the post box – maybe good for a poster leading up to more different images remake the post box out of the companies affected? – Terrorism and consumerism needs to be explored and controlled social regeneration. Drew: risking the project doing it in the shopping centre magnifies the impact—Graham: some people will be upset but there has to be a majority that are happy that can assist in the understanding – IRA represents the past but hinting at contemporary issues.